Lobbying Trump to pardon an anti-gay individual who fled rather than face justice and comply with court orders.
Hate Group Leader Jennifer Roback Morse of Ruth Institute, in conjunction with LifeSiteNews, is trying to persuade Trump to pardon “ex-gay” Lisa Miller who abducted her child and fled to Central America. Miller kidnapped the child to prevent her former partner (in a civil union) and legal parent from having joint custody.
The background, as briefly as possible, is this: In 2000 Lisa Miller and Janet Jenkins united in a civil union. In a joint decision, Miller became pregnant through artificial insemination. Isabella Miller-Jenkins was born in 2002. The family moved to Vermont. Miller and Jenkins are the legal parents of Isabella.
In late 2003 the couple dissolved their civil union amicably. They agreed that Jenkins would have regular visits with Isabella and pay child support.
Miller moved to Lynchburg, VA with Isabella and became a zealous Baptist. She joined Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church. Mad Mat Staver’s Liberty Counsel, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, claims to be an auxiliary of that church. Liberty Counsel became Miller’s lawyers.
Surround by religious crazies Miller became “ex-gay” and started to restrict Jenkins’ visits. You can be sure that the far-right Christians around Miller were telling her that Jenkins would “recruit Isabella” and possibly sexually abuse the child. (In fact, Miller accused Jenkins of child abuse.)
Jenkins went to court to pursue her parental rights. Ultimately the Supreme Court of Vermont determined that Jenkins was, indeed, one of Isabella’s legal parents. Miller and Liberty Counsel tried to move the case to Virginia but the Virginia courts concluded that Vermont had jurisdiction.
While all this was going on there ensued an avalanche of anti-gay propaganda. Mad Mat was raising money off of this case and his rhetoric was echoed through right-wing media. It was very ugly. We all know how Liberty Counsel exhales anti-LGBTQ bigotry in order to inhale donations.
Rather than comply with court-ordered visitation, Miller (with considerable assistance from persons associated with the Christian right) abducted Isabella in late 2009 and fled to Nicaragua. They have effectively disappeared. There is evidence that Liberty Counsel was complicit in the kidnapping. More details are available at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Isabella is now 19 years of age. There remains an open arrest warrant for Lisa Miller. Jenkins filed a civil suit in 2012 against Miller and numerous accomplices. Staver has used this case to fight against “homosexual activism.”
One thing is abundantly clear
The best interests of the child were not met through parental kidnapping. According to the United State Department of State, Nicaragua is a very dangerous country with substandard healthcare:
The US Department of State currently recommends US citizens RECONSIDER
TRAVEL to Nicaragua due to COVID-19, civil unrest, crime, limited healthcare
availability, and arbitrary enforcement of laws.
Aside from COVID-19 I doubt that conditions were any better in 2009; particularly concerning civil unrest, crime and limited healthcare availability. In fact conditions were probably worse.
After losing free and fair elections in 1990, 1996, and 2001, former Sandinista President Daniel ORTEGA was elected president in 2006, 2011, and most recently in 2016. Municipal, regional, and national-level elections since 2008 have been marred by widespread irregularities. Democratic institutions have weakened under the ORTEGA administration as the president has garnered full control over all branches of government, especially after cracking down on a nationwide antigovernment protest movement in 2018.
Enter Jennifer Roback Morse
Morse writes: Trump should pardon ex-lesbian who fled with daughter from abusive ‘partner’. There is no evidence of Jenkins being “abusive.” The allegation is defamatory.
The subtitle reads:
The case is strange and disconcerting, involving drugs, divorce, a sperm donor, fatherlessness, and a biased and unreasonable family court.
Morse does mention that Miller is a former drug addict and alcoholic. It is common in Christian circles to blame someone for another person’s sexual orientation. The most common lie is that someone became gay because of sexual abuse; usually at the hands of a gay adult.
The blame game is pretext for attempting to validate the pseudo-science of conversion therapy. It also promotes the idea that gay adults pose a danger to children. Morse has a different version:
While in the psych ward [Miller’s] therapists decided, without consulting her husband, that the reason she had so many struggles was because she was a lesbian. Clearly, they told her, the struggles she was facing came from difficulties “coming out.” Later, after divorcing her husband, she followed their advice.
The therapists encouraged her to be a lesbian (rather than working out her relationship with her husband) …
The above is obvious fiction. Therapists don’t do that. It was probably advanced by Miller and then tweaked by Morse.
Morse’s agenda is so patently obvious:
This also brings up another question about the immutability of sexual preference. After both of her failed relationships with different women, and the abusive, though longer-term relationship with Janet Jenkins, she decided that actively living a lesbian lifestyle wasn’t for her (not to mention her doubts about her sexual preference during that span of time). Can sexual preference be immutable if people’s sexual preference changes?
I probably don’t need to write this but “sexual preference” is top, bottom, missionary, doggie and so on. The rhetorical question is idiotic. Sexual orientation is expressed in a continuum with heterosexual and homosexual at the extreme ends.
Furthermore, just because Miller claims to be “ex-gay” does not mean that her sexual orientation has changed. Presumably Miller was bisexual to begin with. People also claim to be ex-gay to conform to religious expectations.
Lisa’s life became more difficult as she moved in with, and later became joined in a civil union with, Janet Jenkins. Lisa said, “Janet and I did not have a typical relationship. We were together — however, there was rarely any intimacy. Maybe once or twice a year and this was consistent throughout the relationship. I personally did not feel that way. This upset Janet a great deal and a lot of the abuse centered around that, as well, with name-calling and things like that… I actually, ended up leaving her in 1999 because the relationship had turned violent.”
The above (bullshit) is just Miller trying to blame Jenkins for her federal crime (parental kidnapping). Miller makes many excuses for the things she did (nothing is ever her fault).
Another helping of BS:
According to Lisa, even though Jenkins was granted some parental rights after the dissolution proceedings began (though they lasted more than 5 years). Jenkins’ involvement with the child was minimal, even skipping the court ordered dates for visitation.
According to court records, Miller made Isabella unavailable for visitation which is why she was held in contempt of court. Common sense should prevail. Jenkins would not have spent a considerable amount of money to obtain those visits. She wanted them. In fact the visits were court ordered only because Jenkins sued Miller.
Here is where the defamation comes in:
As far as the sordid allegations of the proceedings go, what Lisa Miller alleges Jenkins did isn’t pretty. She recounts that her daughter said that Jenkins would bathe naked with her (as a 5-year-old girl!), and that her daughter would come back from the few visits she did have and mime committing suicide. After that, Lisa cut off visits, and eventually fled the country to protect her daughter from an allegedly abusive and erratic ex-partner.
In general someone who repeats defamation and causes harm is guilty of libel or slander (for the spoken word). Also note the change in narrative. Jenkins didn’t miss visits, as previously alleged. Miller violated court ordered visitation.
Miller was represented by Liberty Counsel. If any of the above is true (which I highly doubt) the proper path is to go back to court — not to abduct the child.
Furthermore, if Isabella needed protection from anyone it would be from Lisa Miller who is a criminal and federal fugitive. The rhetoric surrounding this, prior to Miller fleeing the country, was profoundly homophobic. Homophobia is the reason for cutting off visitation; not the manufactured story of child abuse.
The post is attributed to Ruth Institute which allows it to quote Jennifer Roback Morse:
Dr. Morse said of this heartbreaking case, “Lisa Miller was one of the early victims of the Sexual State. Her case convinced me that redefining marriage would redefine parenthood in ways that few people were taking seriously. …
That doctorate is in economics. This has nothing whatsoever to do with marriage equality which Morse will continue to attack on behalf of the Catholic Church.
“When those visits became abusive, Lisa tried to prevent them. The bias of the court in favor of the non-parent was so strong and the power of the family court so arbitrary, that Lisa could not protect her child. She fled the country with her daughter. She had the assistance of two brave Mennonite pastors and a Christian businessman.
“I support a presidential pardon for Lisa Miller, and for Philip Zodhiates, Timothy Miller and Kevin Miller.”
Janet Jenkins is a legal parent of the child. There is no evidence that any abuse occurred.
According to a petition launched by LifeSiteNews:
More than 10 years ago, in 2009, Lisa Miller took her daughter Isabella and traveled to Nicaragua because of her deep concern that her daughter was being “traumatized” by court-ordered visits with her former lesbian partner.
Two court-appointed advocates – one clinical therapist and one social worker – testified to the apparent trauma experienced by Isabella in sworn testimony. And, Miller, herself, also testified to the apparent trauma experienced by her daughter.
Yet the court granted joint custody. Court records in this matter are sealed but the implication — if advocates testified that trauma existed — is that the distress was caused by Lisa Miller. There was probably a guardian ad litem appointed by the court. I will dig around but I’m not hopeful that I can get the real story.
Trump is chaotic, disorganized, insane and unpredictable. Trump’s pardons, unlike other presidents have not been reviewed by a pardon board at the Department of Justice. The key factor in Trump’s decision making is how or if that decision will benefit him. Trump is a narcissist who only cares about one thing: Donald J. Trump.
If Miller is pardoned and returns to this country she will probably end up indebted to Jenkins for the rest of her life by virtue of the civil suit.